Moms are conditioned to want everything for their children. In most cases that means lots of things! Before our babies are even born we have filled their closets, stuffed their toy boxes, and decorated their rooms. One day you’ll end up screaming at your children about cleaning up their precious toys. A lightbulb moment will happen. All of a sudden minimalist lifestyle starts sounding pretty dang good.
Things Do Not Equal Success
Many factors have undoubtedly contributed to our need for physical possessions. Earlier generations lived through financial crises and taught later generations how to take pleasure in splurging on items. An occasional splurge has, however, become a regular occurrence with the rise of social media. Living a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t photograph as well on Instagram and therefore keeps us in the vicious cycle of accumulating items. Thus, we are in constant competition with virtual strangers to prove we have the best lives. If we have learned anything about social media in the past decade it’s that reality is often not what is being portrayed.
You can not compare your life to the highlight reel of someone else’s life. Accumulating items is never worth it if it means racking up debt. Having so many items that you can never find what you need is not living the dream. The way to measure success in life is not quantified by how many items you have at the end. Real success is impossible to measure. Priceless moments, once in a lifetime experiences, and blissful memories can never be measured. The less money you spend on the items, the more money you’ll have to create a successful life.
Moms Who Need Minimalism
Imagine you are about to leave the house for a long weekend at the beach. The kids have their suitcases packed, your car is bursting at the seams with “necessary” gear, and there is a tornado left behind inside your house from packing. All of a sudden your 3-year-old is being strapped in and wants their sock monkey stuffed animal. Panic mode begins. Everyone in the family knows that crying will continue non-stop without that exact stuffed animal.
Your first thought is that it is in the suitcase, but after a quick toss of the contents, you determine it must still be in the house. Meanwhile, time is ticking away and rush hour traffic is getting worse every second. You need to leave the house so that you can get on the road before you go crazy. Inside the house you search your child’s bed, you start sifting through their toy box, you’re looking under furniture, and finally, you see the stuffed animal in question on the kitchen counter. You hadn’t seen it there when you passed the kitchen previously because the counter was covered with dishes you didn’t do, a giant bin of goldfish, unopened mail, and the bike helmets you told your kids to put inside.
Minimalism for Moms
Most moms say that practicing a minimalist lifestyle is impossible for a mom. While it’s true that fitting all your possessions into a backpack is highly impractical as a mom, that doesn’t accurately reflect the minimalism movement. Above all else, a minimalist lifestyle encourages quality over quantity. If you think about your kid’s toy collection for example, you can name broken toys, toys with missing parts, and toys your children have not played with in ages. If you decide to try a minimalist lifestyle, your goal would be to eliminate toys until you are only left with toys that are actively being played with.
Ending the emotional attachment to items is often the biggest hurdle to becoming a minimalist. That outfit your aunt bought your child or the stuffed lion your cousin sent them for their birthday become manifestations of an emotion. It’s as if that object is a stand-in for the love your family has for your child. The last thing any gift giver wants is for the receiver to become burdened by the gift.
Pretend you are the gift giver. Ask your partner to go find the supplies to wrap a present right now. Chances are it will take them a while. Your wrapping paper is in the back of a closet, tape is in a junk drawer, and scissors ended up on top of your dresser. In a minimalist household, necessary items aren’t hidden behind un-necessary items, thus life is simpler. Now you’ve given a noisy electronic gift to your best friends child. It’s making your friend go crazy at night when the child won’t turn it off. You sure don’t want the gift you gave to cause tantrums and fights. You’d want them to end the insanity and get rid of it.
Starting Your Minimalist Lifestyle
The best way to kick off your minimalist lifestyle is with a money making garage sale. Turning your possessions into cash can ease the nervousness and self-doubt of minimizing. Knowing your items are living on in the world is satisfaction in itself. Plus, the funds you earn can kick off your new memory making minimalist lifestyle. Say it with me, “Experiences over possessions.”
One thing to remember, some things are worth less than zero dollars. That means that by keeping them they are actually costing you money. Every time you have to clean the item, move the item, or let that item take up space in your brain it is costing you. The time you spend listing that item on craigslist, eBay, or garage sale groups is the time you could have spent with your kiddos. You might think an item has some specific value and you want to hold out until you can get that price, just don’t. Let it go.
Minimalists Have More Fun
Create all the memories. The free time you create by reducing your possessions is shocking. All of a sudden your child doesn’t have to clean their room, instead, you can take them on a bike ride. You won’t be frantically looking for your car keys in the morning, so you’ll have time to hit the Starbucks drive-thru. Every task becomes easier and less stressful when there are fewer things.
Once your inner circle gets the message that you’ve become a minimalist they will need help picking out gifts. Children can be gifted certificates to go paint pottery, memberships to the science museum, guitar lessons, a photo shoot at the tulip festival, you get the idea. Love is not about giving someone an object for their birthday. Minimalists want to experience things with the people they love and worry less about inanimate items.
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